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Tough Illinois dual, Lowell’s first test in journey to defend wrestling championship

Lowell wrestling coach R.J. Boudro was greeted with an apology upon his Red Arrows arrival at the Lockport Super Dual in Lockport, Illinois.

Lockport wrestling coach Josh Oster expressed his regrets that Lowell had been scheduled to wrestle some of the tournament’s toughest competition.

Boudro’s response was clear, “That’s what we traveled here for.”

Lowell and all of its highly ranked Illinois wrestling schools were all anxious to wrestle different teams,  and the best competition the duals had to offer.

“It’s not my goal to have wrestlers go 50-0. It’s my goal to make sure they are tested. That means wrestling against the toughest competition,” Boudro said.

The Red Arrows, ranked number one in the Division 2 pre-season poll,  opened with Marist on Friday night. Lowell defeated the eighth ranked  3A school 36-29. It was Lowell’s first win in three attempts against Marist.

On Saturday, the Red Arrows defeated Lockport (3A, 11th ranked) , 39-32. It’s only loss at the super dual came against Oak Forest (2A, ranked 3rd), 30-27. Lowell finished the tournament with a 32-23 win over the Falcons of Wheaton North.

All four of the schools we wrestled would be top ranked teams in our area,” Boudro explained. “Their lineups didn’t have any breaks.”

Wrestling strong schools comes with a risk. “While we want to wrestle tough competition, you don’t want the kids to lose confidence as a result. That is why it’s important to mix in some mid grade-level competition.”

Lowell opened its 2014-15 campaign with wins over Carson City-Crystal and Sanford Meridian.

The Red Arrows received notable performances by a number of wrestlers during its weekend visit to Lockport.

* Lucas Hall majored the number one ranked wrestler in Illinois.

* Junior Logan Blough, first year varsity, won three of his four matches.

* Josh Colegrove recorded a pin in each of his four matches.

* Sophomore Sam Russell picked up pins against Marist and Wheaton North.

* Max Dean posted an important pin in his match against Oak Forest.

Nestled in the middle of Lowell’s lineup are four freshmen. Austin Engle (160), Keigan Yuhas (152), David Kruse (145) and George Gonzales (171). “They’ll play pivotal roles. They are tough kids.”

“Overall the wrestling styles from state to state are all the same Boudro noted. “The cultures are a little different , but the wrestling styles don’t change. In Illinois there isn’t as much a emphasis on dual meets,” he explained.

The expectations for the 2014-15 season are high for the defending Division II state champions, but the coach likes the lofty expectations and wouldn’t expect less.

“None of it will come without a whole bunch of hard work,” Boudro said.

Lowell’s hard work and toughness will be tested again this weekend as it travels to Mishawaka, IN to wrestle the Cavemen.

“It’s a good wrestling program and we will see some top notch wrestlers,” Boudro concluded.